DON VAN NATTA
The New York Times
January 3, 2011
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, relatives of some of the victims began suspecting that someone was eavesdropping on their telephones.
Some heard mysterious clicking sounds on their home and mobile phones. The fiancÃ©e of one man who died at the World Trade Center remembers listening to snippets of someone elseâ€™s conversation on her line. A husband of another victim recalls hearing somebody remotely accessing his home answering machine, which still held the final, reassuring message left by his wife shortly before the crash of Flight 93. Others say they are baffled as to how details about their loved ones appeared in British tabloids within days of the attacks.
Ten years later, their long-held suspicions aroused by The News of the World phone-hacking scandal in London, dozens of relatives of victims contacted the Justice Department. On Aug. 24, eight of them met with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and asked him to determine whether their privacy had been violated. As a first step, they asked him to see whether Scotland Yard had a record of their names or phone numbers among the material seized from a private investigator who hacked cellphone messages for the tabloid.